Mazany false flagged charter school issue at December 2010 Chicago Board of Education meeting... Charters to be expanded on January 26 at Chicago Board meeting

One month after he surprised many close observers of the Chicago Public Schools by withdrawing Board Reports that would have expanded, once again, Chicago's charter schools and so-called "campuses," Chief Executive Officer Terry Mazany is recommending that all but one of the charter school proposals originally appearing on the Board's agenda in December 2010 be adopted on January 26, 2011.

Newly installed Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Terry Mazany (above, under the eyes of Board member Peggy Davis) proposed numerous charter school expansions and the creation of three new charter schools at his first Board meeting on December 15, 2010, but then withdrew all but one of them. The majority of the charter expansions and new charters were brought back by Mazany on the public agenda for the Board's January 26, 2011, meeting, indicating that the Mazany administration had become the fourth in a row to aggressively promote the expansion of Chicago charter schools despite increasing evidence that the majority of them are both failures and frauds. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.According to the Board of Education's agenda for the meeting scheduled for January 26, 2011, the following Board Reports are back on the agenda (updated in name and number from the way they appeared on the December 15, 2010 agenda):

Board Report 11-0126-EX6 (Amend Board Report 10-0526-EX5) Amend Board Report 10-0426-Ex2, Amend Board Report 09-0826-EX8 Amend Board Report 08-0924-Ex8 Amend Board Report 08-0602-EX7. Approve the Renewal of the Charter School Agreement with UNO Charter School. This report creates additional "campuses" for the UNO network of charter schools.

Board Report 11-0126-EX7. Amend Board Report 10-0526-EX6). Approve the Renewal of the Charter School Agreement with Erie Elementary Charter School.

Board Report 11-0126-EX8 (Amend Board Report 10-0922-EX3). Amend Board Report 10-0428-EX3, Amend Board Report 09-0123-EX9 Amend Board Report 09-0826-Ex10. Amend Board Report 09-0325-EX14. Amend Board Report 08-1217-EX7. Approve the Renewal of the Charter School Agreement with Noble Network of Charter [sic, the word "Schools" does not appear in the agenda published on January 24, 2011 in accordance with the Illinois Open Meetings Act].

Board Report 11-0126-EX9 (Amend Board Report 10-0728-EX6). Amend Board Report 09-0826-EX7. Amend Board Report 08-0827-EX8. Amend Board Report 08-0602-EX2. Amend Board Report 07-0627-EX7. Approve the Renewal of the Charter School Agreement with the Youth Connection Charter School.

Board Report 11-0126-EX10. (Amend Board Report 10-1027-EX16). Amend Board Report 10-0324-EX3. Amend Board Report 09-1216-EX4. Amend Board Report 08-0602-EX3. Amend Board Report 08-0123-EX3. Amend Board Report 07-1219-EX3. Amend Board Report 07-1024-EX6. Amend Board Report 07-0822-EX10.Amend Board Report 07-523-EX5. Approve the Renewal of the Charter School Agreement with Chicago Charter School Foundation (Chicago International Charter School).

One year before he became national news, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright (above a microphone) was granted the power to operate a charter school affiliated with his Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago's 21st Ward. Wright spoke the the Board at the October 2007 Board of Education meeting about how the Kwame Nkrumah charter school was the fulfillment of one of his life's dreams, while then Chicago CEO Arne Duncan looked on, following Duncan's submission of the proposal to the Board. Wright's proposal was approved by a unanimous vote of the Board that day without discussion or debate. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Board Report 11-0126-EX11. Approve the Granting of a Charter and Entering into a Charter School Agreement with Kwame Nkrumah Academy, Inc. an Illinois Not for Profit Corporation.

Board Report 11-0126-EX11. Approve the Granting of a Charter and Entering into a Charter School Agreement with Legal Prep Charter Academies, Inc. an Illinois Not for Profit Corporation.

Two proposals that were on the Board agenda in December 2010 — to open a charter school on the Northwest Side (operated by Christopher House) and to open a Montessori charter school in the Englewood community have apparently been dropped. Substance was unable to confirm that these two proposals were permanently dropped.

The only new charter is actually Legal Prep. Kwame Nkrumah has been in operation for several years as a contract school, and is now being converted into a charter school. The school was originally proposed by Arne Duncan after being brought to the Duncan administration by Rev. Jeremiah Wright (of Trinity United Church of Christ), who later became controversial during the Obama presidential campaign.

The complex wording of each of Mazany's Board Reports reflects the history of each of the charter schools. Each Board Report expanded the number of "campuses" for each of the charter schools named. The histories for the most part go back through the time when Arne Duncan was CEO of CPS (July 2001 through December 2008) and continue through the brief administration of Ron Huberman (CEO, January 2009 through November 2010) and now continue into the Mazany administration, indicating continued support at the highest levels for the relentless expansion of Chicago charter schools.

Despite regular and routine claims by Chicago charter school supporters that Chicago's charter schools have been "successful," the majority of them have not been so by any reasonable measure. Even the Board of Education's own reports (albeit buried in lengthy documents such as the Proposed Budget for Fiscal 2011) show that the majority of Chicago charter schools and "campuses" do no better (and ofter do worse) than regular public schools. Two fictions have been utilized to sustain the claims of Chicago charters since they were begun under the administration of Paul Vallas and Gery Chico (July 1995 - June 2001).

First, proponents claim that the existence of a so-called "waiting list" for certain charters is proof that there is a demand for more charter schools and campuses. Since Substance first asked Arne Duncan for proof of these so-called "waiting lists," CPS administrators have refused to provide them. CPS has also refused to provide the "waiting lists" for its selective enrollment, magnet and gifted elementary and high schools as well, since in all cases those schools would be able to produce a lengthier "waiting list" than the charters that claim "waiting lists."

The second lie repeatedly told on behalf of Chicago charters is that they are in effect true public schools and should therefore be compared with the public schools of the communities in which they sit. Most Chicago charter schools — especially the Noble Network high schools — regularly dump their undesirable students back into the local public schools, and have been covertly doing so for years (sometimes, now, decades). This year, for the first time, some staff of the Chicago Teachers Union will be documenting and highlighting that process, and how it is used to help the charter schools increase their funding while reducing the risk that they will have low scoring students when standardized tests are administered.

Since the beginning of the 21st Century, CPS has refused to do a non-partisan objective study of all aspects of its charter schools. Reflecting the business model at the heart of the Chicago charter school program, CPS officials refer to the collection of Chicago charter schools as a "portfolio." 


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